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You Hang Your Anchor back to TTN home page
by Joe Harkins - Mar 24, 99
"Form follows function," said a great architect. Most houseboats have all the graceful lines of a floating shoebox but serve as a prime example of how that dictum works. They often enclose livable and mobile floor space equal to the interior of an 18-wheeler.
In addition to opening up vast, otherwise inaccessible vacation areas, a rental houseboat can be an intimate, romantic hideaway for two people or a raucous family vacation. It's rare to find a houseboat with a capacity of fewer than 6 people. Rental units suitable for 12 are not at all uncommon.
Interior appointments (depending on location) include a hot shower, toilet, private sleeping spaces, stove, refrigerator, sink, television, VCR and, increasingly, even a cellular phone. Costs per person, aside from travel to the departure dock, often are a fraction of land-based accommodations. For example, compare rates for a "condo in the water" in Naples and Marco Island, Florida with rates at two excellent hotels in the same area.
As you might expect, large bodies of water are likely to offer the greatest variety of houseboat rental resources. Although the relatively calm sheltered waterways around Florida, the Gulf Coast and California are popular, areas many miles from the ocean offer huge inland seas that are perfect for extended getaways.
The canal-linked impoundments of the Kentucky, Barkely and Cumberland Lakes contain more than 3,000 miles of shoreline along the Kentucky - Tennessee border. In that same area, Dale Hollow Lake is a separate but beautiful system of lakes and islands. Houseboat rentals can be found at the official tourism sites for Kentucky and Tennessee.
(Web surfing hint: Virtually all states have an official web site whose home page address is based upon the standard two-letter postal abbreviation. Thus, www.state.al.us or www.state.ga.us. Then click or search on such words as tourism, lakes, houseboats, marinas, vacations, etc.)
Although a few web sites such as Houseboating World and Houseboat Magazine have potential to be central directories for houseboating, they limit their rental operator listings to paid advertisers. However, if you follow each site's links to "lakes" you'll eventually reach separate sites with local information. (Note - Apr 02, 1999, a message was posted to the Traveler's Forum to the effect that information in this paragraph is not correct. That message has been pasted below or you may read it in the Forum.)
Gordon's Guide is handsome but I only found the interesting houseboat section through a search engine. Otherwise, nothing on Gordon's home page tells me that information exists.
Worse, Huck's Mississippi River Houseboats runs amuck and is virtually impossible to read. Blue and violet letters melt into a black background. Flags twinkle. Photos shimmer within metallic frames. There's even an sound track of a whistle (What's the idea of that? To get your attention?) Good thing whoever did this site doesn't know about making text blink and swirl or they'd be doing that too. All this in a display that requires left to right scrolling. Phah!
Great River Cruises and Houseboat Adventures web site covers roughly the same geographical area but with much more accessible information and less noise. I've houseboated around the area and testify that the upper Mississippi River, with many sandy islands, steep shorelines and isolated "cut-offs," is delightful fun within a reasonable drive of major midwestern cities.
If esacaping June, July or August heat appeals to you, some of the best bargains in mid-summer houseboating are found across our northern border in Canada. Ontario Wilderness presents one of the most beautiful vacation areas in North America. Rainy River and nearby Lake of the Woods are noted for superb fishing. From happy personal experience, I strongly suggest that hiring a local guide for only one day will improve your fishing and campfire skills to the point where you'll probably be able to feed yourself and your family every day right out of the lake.
A word of caution. This is bear country. Should you decide to spend any nights camping ashore, choose one of the many small islands where you are not likely to encounter one.
Note that prices are quoted in Canadian Currency. The exchange rate (roughly $1 Canadian currently equals approximately $0.50 US. The rate fluctuates daily, so check it out before budgeting) is so favorable to Americans that it is embarrassing. If you don't have a passport, hassle-free return to the US will require official birth certificates (not photocopies) and photo IDs, especially for children. The areas are about a day and half drive north of Chicago. Duluth and International Falls, MN are convenient overnight stops.
Another northern excursion might be the Rideau region of Eastern Ontario. The 125-mile long waterway is a series of lakes and rivers connected by picturesque canals. Even if you don't go there, visit this excellently conceived and executed web site.
Aquaflo serves Moosehead Lake, Maine. Its 75,000 acres and 400 miles of unspoiled shoreline are among the best fresh water fishing areas in the country.
At virtually any houseboating venue you will have no problem finding privacy; it will find you first.
Other good houseboating resources include:
S & S Rentals (another upper Miss. River operator)
Boatel (Miss. River - 2nd oldest houseboat agency in US)
Sea Village (NJ's answer to Sausalito)
Sunrise Peak (Lake Powell, Utah side)
Journey Quest various locations
PortsideRentals (British Columbia, Canada)
Shuswap Lake (another Canadian paradise)
Lake Texoma (Texas- Oklahoma)
Lake Waco (Texas)
Lake Shasta (California)
Apalachicola River System (Florida's "forgotten coast")
Big Foot Resorts (2 Dale Hollow Lake, TN locations)
Raystown Lake (Pennsylvania)
Posted by Morris Rozen on April 02, 1999 at 01:59:40:
In your article "Home is Where You Hang Your Anchor" you list The Houseboating Page as Houseboat Magazine together with our imitator houseboatingworld, and then go on to say that we have the potential to be good resources if we did not just list paid advertisers.
Please note The Houseboating Page lists EVERY houseboat rental operation in North America, that we could find. We do highlight our paid advertisers, and in many cases have to split the listings into 2 pages for some states/provinces. In fact we also have rental listings for Europe & Australia.
To make obtaining information easier, we offer a Brochure Request Form, this form though is limited to our paid advertisers.
We strive for accuracy and do our best to ensure that links are functioning. If anyone needs rental information or any houseboating information please feel free to visit houseboat.net and cruise through our site.
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